Graffiti Busters Winning The Battle!

Graffiti Busters Winning The Battle!



graffiti-bustersHave you noticed any graffiti in Ajijic or Chapala lately? The answer is probably, “No”. That would not have been the case a couple of years ago. Ajijic and Chapala were both saturated with the ‘Urban Art.’  In fact, it was hard to go a block or two in any direction without seeing a defaced wall.

Graffiti generally appears in one of three forms: Tagger’s, who have an insatiable need to scrawl something on any surface that isn’t moving; Gangs, who want to mark their territories; and Lovesick Youths who want to alert the rest of us of their undying love.

In 2010, The Ajijic Garden Guild decided to take on a graffiti clean-up project as a part of their community beautification efforts. A handful of volunteers were recruited, paint was purchased, and the cleanup began.  It soon became apparent that this was going to be a big job, and the costs were significant.  Enter the Chapala Association of Realtors, who saw the merits of a graffiti-free community, and agreed to fund the project.  That support from the C.A.R. continues today.

The first stage of the project was to clean up the graffiti in Ajijic, section by section. The Plaza area and the area in and around the beautiful Amistad Park & Malecón were the first to be tackled, followed by the rest of the village, and then pushing outward in all directions, little by little.

It was a battle of wills, where the volunteers hoped that speed and persistence would win the war. The goal was to remove the graffiti within 24 hours of its appearance. A wall would be cleaned, and within a day or two the graffiti would reappear. Nevertheless, the diligence of the volunteers soon paid off, as the majority of the tagger’s finally realized they had been defeated by a dedicated army who simply were not going to allow the graffiti to remain.

What had initially been an extremely time-consuming job, requiring many volunteers, became a small group (about four volunteers for all of the Ajijic area) who are now able to maintain the situation with just a few hours each week.

Last year, seeing the amazing success of the Ajijic graffiti clean-up, a group from Chapala decided to try to emulate that effort. The contrast between a graffiti-free Ajijic and a graffiti-covered Chapala was readily apparent. Using the same system as the Ajijic group, and sharing the funding provided by the Chapala Association of Realtors, the work began, with the same results.  What began with a large group is now down to five or six, who are able to maintain the drastically improved municipality.

All of us owe a debt of thanks to The Ajijic Garden Guild, C.A.R., and the many volunteers who have worked so diligently to make such a positive difference.


What you can do to help:

The most important thing is rapid removal of graffiti. If you find graffiti on your home or business, paint over it right away. If it re-appears, remove it, again. After a while, they’ll move on, looking for someplace their tags will remain. Let’s not allow them to find such a place in Ajijic or Chapala. Perhaps other areas will want to emulate an anti-graffiti program in their communities.  Clearly, with persistence and some elbow grease, it can be done.


Ojo Del Lago
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